Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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2014.07.30 04:06:56

The US Treasury has announced punitive sanctions on three leading Russian banks including the giant VTB to press Moscow over its support for rebels in Ukraine.

The sanctions announced on Tuesday banned any Americans or people in US jurisdictions from any new medium or long-term financing transactions with VTB Bank, its subsidiary Bank of Moscow and Russian Agricultural Bank.

All three are controlled by the Russian government.

The sanctions aim at choking off anything but short-term financing for the banks, which could inhibit their ability to build or maintain long-term lending business.

Under the rules, are prohibited from transacting in or providing financing for any new debt from the banks for over 90 days. [AFP]

Obama on new sanctions against Russia:

No, it's not a new Cold War.

  Ukraine | Russia | United States | Barack Obama
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2014.07.30 04:04:54

Chile has condemned the Israeli offensive in Gaza and has summoned the Israeli ambassador to Santiago for consultations - AP

  Gaza | Israel | Chile
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2014.07.30 02:54:13

According to a senior Palestinian leader, Egypt has told all sides in the Gaza conflict that a 24-hour ceasefire must be in place before talks get underway in Cairo.

  Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Egypt
Comments 0 Hits: 50  

2014.07.30 02:53:06

The broad EU economic sanctions against Russia are intended to be "a strong warning" but could be reversed if Moscow changes course in Ukraine, EU President Herman Van Rompuy said.

The sanctions targeting Russia's finance, defense and energy sectors are "meant as a strong warning" that its actions in Ukraine cannot be tolerated but if Moscow changes course, then the EU too is "ready to reverse its decisions," Van Rompuy said in a statement on Tuesday. [AFP]

  Ukraine | Russia | European Union
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2014.07.30 02:52:06

At least 100 Gazans have been killed in Israeli bombardment on Tuesday, Gaza officials have said, hours after shells hit the enclave's only power station.

A thick column of black smoke was seen rising from the power station on Tuesday, mingling with other plumes sent into the air by Israeli shelling.

Click here to read our full report.

  Gaza | Israel
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2014.07.30 02:49:57

The United States is drawing up fresh sanctions against Russia for its role in fueling the crisis in Ukraine, top US  diplomat John Kerry warned.

"We are in the process of preparing additional sanctions, with Europe," Kerry told reporters on Tuesday, shortly after the EU finally adopted broad economic measures against Moscow.

But he added that Russian President Vladimir Putin "still has a choice going forward with respect to his ability to be able to have an impact with the separatists."

Speaking after meeting with new Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin at the State Department, Kerry revealed he had again raised US concerns over Russia's role in stirring unrest in eastern Ukraine during a telephone call Tuesday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. [AFP]

  Ukraine | Russia | United States | John Kerry | Sergey Lavrov
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2014.07.30 02:41:21

In a letter released by his office on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan would be glad to return an award given to him by a Jewish-American association a decade ago.  

The New York-based American Jewish Congress said in a letter to Erdogan last week that he had become the world's "most virulent anti-Israeli leader" and it demanded that he return an award it had given him partly for his efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

"Prime Minister Erdogan will be glad to return the award given back in 2004," Turkey's ambassador to Washington Serdar Kilic said in the letter addressed to American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen.

There is widespread anger in Turkey at Israel's offensive in Gaza.

  Gaza | Israel | Turkey
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2014.07.30 02:39:15

The European Union reached agreement on the bloc's first broad economic sanctions on Russia over its role in Ukraine, diplomats said, marking a new phase in the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

The measures agreed on Tuesday will shut state-owned Russian banks out of European capital markets and target the defense sector and sensitive technologies, including oil, but exclude the vital gas sector, on which Europe is heavily dependent.

In contrast to the United States, the 28-nation EU, with bigger economic interests at stake, hesitated for months to take decisive action against Moscow.

But the mood changed radically after the downing of a civilian flight in an area of Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists earlier this month, killing all 298 people on board, including 194 Dutch citizens.

EU ambassadors clinched their agreement as intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine killed dozens of civilians, soldiers and rebels. It is expected to be finalized on Wednesday. [Reuters]

  Ukraine | Russia | European Union
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2014.07.30 02:38:18

The Israeli Army struck three primary buildings in Gaza city on Monday night. One was the finance ministry. Another on the list was the Al Aqsa TV building, and the empty house of Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.

Meanwhile, Gaza officials say at least 100 Palestinian have been killed in Israeli strikes on Tuesday.

  Gaza | Israel | Hamas
Comments 0 Hits: 38  

2014.07.30 02:36:55

Observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe were set to arrive in southern Russia for their mission to monitor two border crossings with rebel-held Ukraine, the OSCE said.

The first members of the team of 16 civilian monitors were due to arrive on Tuesday in Russia's Rostov region where they were expected to hold meetings with officials from the regional administration, border guards and customs service, said OSCE spokeswoman Tatyana Baeva.

They could begin visiting the two Russian border posts as soon as Wednesday, she said.

Russia has been keen to refute Western allegations that it has been supplying weapons across the border to pro-Russian rebels.

However the three-month OSCE mission only covers two border crossings -- Donetsk and Gukovo -- and not the entire border.

"The monitors were sent where the border isn't being crossed," independent Russian defense analyst Pavel Felgenhauer told AFP. [AFP]

  Ukraine | Russia
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2014.07.30 02:27:27

The knock to confidence from harsher European sanctions on Russia could spoil the euro zone's budding economic recovery even if it shrugs off the fallout on trade.

Following months of hesitation, the European Union will seek on Tuesday to seal the first broad economic sanctions on Russia - its third-biggest trading partner - following the downing of a Malaysian airliner over territory controlled by pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine.

If endorsed by ambassadors from 28 European Union countries, Europe could limit access to capital markets by Russian state banks, impose an embargo on arms sales and restrict trade of high-tech energy technologies and "dual use" technology that has both civilian and defense applications. [Reuters]

  Ukraine | Russia | European Union
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2014.07.30 02:26:09

BREAKING: Palestinians offer one-day ceasefire. No word from Israel, yet.

  Gaza | Israel
Comments 0 Hits: 31  

2014.07.30 02:25:09

Russia has repeated accusations that Kiev's forces had fired across the border from eastern Ukraine into Russian territory with assault rifles and grenade launchers.

"We officially demand Kiev stop firing at the sovereign territory of the Russian Federation," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Kiev has denied firing into Russian territory. [Reuters]

  Ukraine | Russia
Comments 0 Hits: 32  

2014.07.30 02:24:21

Israeli tank fire has hit the fuel depot of the Gaza Strip's only power plant cutting electricity to Gaza City and many other parts of the Palestinian enclave of 1.8 million people.

A thick column of black smoke rose from the facility, which supplies the territory with two-thirds of its energy needs, and the fuel containers were in flames.

The Israeli army has said that the oil depot was not a target.

  Gaza | Israel
Comments 0 Hits: 29  

2014.07.30 02:23:07

EU diplomats met on Tuesday to forge a deal on the bloc's first broad economic sanctions on Russia, to try to force President Vladimir Putin to defuse the crisis in Ukraine.

After months of hesitation from the European Union, the downing of a civilian flight over Ukraine earlier this month, killing all 298 people on board, has strengthened the bloc's resolve to act and bear the brunt of any possible economic measures against Russia.

Late on Monday, the United States said Western leaders agreed on imposing wider sanctions on Russia's financial, defense and energy sectors after a conference call between U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Italy. [Reuters]

  Ukraine | Russia | European Union
Comments 0 Hits: 30  

2014.07.30 02:16:22

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Israel of committing "genocide" in Gaza and called on the Islamic world to arm Palestinians.

In a speech marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, Khamenei said:

A people surrounded in a small place with closed borders, unsure of having water and electricity, this population faces an armed enemy.

  Gaza | Israel | Iran | Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Comments 0 Hits: 208  

2014.07.30 02:13:27

Seventeen people, including three children, were killed in the past 24 hours by shelling in Ukraine's rebel-held stronghold of Gorlivka, local Ukrainian officials said.

A statement on Tuesday said that 43 people were also wounded in the city which was observing three days of mourning for 13 civilians including 2 children killed on Sunday by Grad rockets.

Several homes were hit by artillery fire in the town located 45-km north of Donetsk, the statement said.

The top story of a school was destroyed and several units in a local hospital were also damaged, it added.

The United Nations has criticized the use of heavy weapons by both pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces in inhabited areas, and in a report released Monday said more than 1,100 had been killed by fighting since. [AFP]

  Ukraine | Russia
Comments 0 Hits: 29  

2014.07.30 02:12:09

Israel's military has struck numerous targets in the Gaza Strip after Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, said his country needed to be prepared for a long conflict in the Palestinian territory.

Click here to read the full report.

  Gaza | Israel
Comments 0 Hits: 29  

2014.07.30 02:02:29

At least one person has been killed after three shells hit an apartment block in the center of the main separatist rebel stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

An Associated Press reporter on the scene saw gaping holes in the side of apartment block after it was fired on.

Around 50 people took refuge in a nearby underground car park and the area was heavy with the smell of household gas.

Although Donetsk is the main stronghold of rebel commanders, the government has refrained to date from attacks on the center of the city.

Rebels accuse the government of using heavy artillery against residential neighborhoods.

Ukraine's government says it has banned the use of artillery in residential areas and in turn says separatists target civilians to discredit the army.

  Ukraine | Russia
Comments 0 Hits: 32  

2014.07.30 02:01:14

Journalist Jesse Rosenfeld writes in The Daily Beast about Israel forcing tens of thousands of Palestinians out of their homes in Gaza.

The buffer zone which is about 44 percent of Gaza's territory is now a "no-man's land".

Click here to read more

  Gaza | Israel
Comments 0 Hits: 35  

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